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Hawaii (Big) Island
Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
Located on beautifully landscaped grounds with intriguing sculptures here and there, this charming complex includes an eclectic art gallery and excellent vegetarian café housed in redwood buildings built in 1908. A cute little one-bedroom "artist's cottage" is available for rent on the grounds as well. If you're lucky you'll get to meet the eccentric lord and master of this enclave, the one and only Ira Ono, known for his recycled "trash art," and his friendly hospitality. www.volcanogardenarts.com. COST: Free. OPEN: Tues.-Sat. 10-4.
A memorial to all those who lost their lives in tsunamis that have struck the Big Island, Hawaii and the world, this small but informative museum offers a poignant history of the devastating waves. In a 1931 C. W. Dickey-designed building—the former home of the First Hawaiian Bank—you'll find an interactive computer center, a science room, a theater, a replica of Old Hilo Town, a children's corner, and a knowledgeable, friendly staff. In the background, a striking quilt tells a silent story. www.tsunami.org. COST: $8. OPEN: Mon.-Sat. 9-4:15.
Built in 1839 for David and Sarah Lyman, Congregationalist missionaries, the Lyman House is the oldest frame building on the island. In the adjacent museum, dedicated in 1973, there's a realistic magma chamber and exhibits on the islands' formation. There's also an interesting section on Hawaiian flora and fauna. The gift shop sells Hawaiian books, cards, gifts, and music. It's best to call ahead for tour availability. www.lymanmuseum.org. COST: $10. OPEN: Mon.-Sat. 10-4:30, Mission House tours 11-2.
Behind the stone-loading platform of the once-famous Hilo Railroad, constructed around the turn of the 20th century, the former manager's house is a poignant reminder of the era when sugar was the local cash crop. The railroad, used to transport sugar from the plantations to the port, was one of the most expensive built in its time. It was washed away by the 1946 tsunami. Today one of the vintage switch engines is on display at the museum, and on special occasions even runs a few yards on a short Y-track. www.thetrainmuseum.com. COST: $6. OPEN: Weekdays 9-4:30, weekends 10-2.
Walk across the Parker Ranch Shopping Center parking lot to a historic 79-year-old fire station, now a gallery, to glimpse what the artists in Hamakua and Kohala are up to. The Waimea Arts Council sponsors free kaha kiis (one-person shows). www.waimeaartscouncil.org.. OPEN: Wed.-Sat. 11-3.
Run by local artists Peter and Jeanette McLaren, this Honomu gallery showcases their woodwork and photography collections along with beautiful ceramics, woodwork, photography, glass, and paintings from other Big Island artists. The McLarens also serve up plate lunches, shave ice, homemade ice cream, and espresso to hungry tourists in the adjoining café. Their shop next door, called Same-Same, But Different, features made-in-Hawaii clothing and small gifts. The historic building still has a soda fountain dating from 1935. www.woodshopgallery.com.
A Big Island-born artist whose verdant landscapes and paniolo (cowboy)-themed paintings have become iconic throughout the Islands, Harry Wishard's gallery at Parker Ranch Center showcases his original oils, plus works by such local artists as Kathy Long, Tai Lake, and Lynn Capell.
In this remote gallery you can find finely crafted wooden bowls, koa furniture, paintings, and jewelry—all made by local artists. There's also a great little café where you can pick up a sandwich or ice cream before descending into Waipio Valley. www.waipiovalleyartworks.com.
Watercolorist and oil painter Patrick Louis Rankin showcases his own work in his shop in a restored plantation store next to the bright-green Chinese community and social hall, on the way to Pololu Valley. The building sits right on the road at the curve, in the Palawa ahupua'a (land division) near Kapaau. www.patricklouisrankin.net.
One of the oldest and largest galleries in Kona, Pacific Fine Art represents 42 artists from across the globe. The gallery features everything from original oil and acrylic paintings to limited editions, sculptures, glass, and raku ceramic pieces.
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